The early morning is raw and gray, and there are just a few pedestrians on the streets of Munich as I wander into the old city center on a pre-breakfast exploration. Munich is the cultural and economic center of German Bavaria. I pass empty beer gardens and ratskellers and eventually I find myself at the Marienplatz, a large open square where the Old and the New Town Hall is located.
I crane my neck to examine the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, a massive clock tower with lively, life-sized figures that perform a marriage ceremony and “Coopers dance” each day at prescribed times. The music-box style tower is silent at this early hour, but the painted figures are poised and ready to dance.
I’ve sampled the classic German dish, Wiener Schnitzel twice during this trip. Veal, pounded thin, is coated with golden bread crumbs and eggs and fried so that the outer coating is crispy and the veal is buttery and tender. This Vienna-style veal cutlet has roots in Austria dating back to the 15th or 16th century, but can also be traced back to France and the veal dish viennoise. One source says the name Wiener Schnitzel first emerged around 1862. My first tasting consisted of three paper-thin cutlets, each with a slightly different breading, and a deliciously tangy vinegar flavor, served with pesto potato salad. The second night, the eggy golden crust was dressed with tiny tart cranberries.
There are all types of savory delicacies in Germany. As I walk, I find myself in a small square off the Marienplatz, where shop keepers stock windows with plump white veal sausages and rich cuts of meat.
There are displays overflowing with vegetables, widows lined with Prosecco, and a colorful flower market with buckets of budding blossoms.